Friday, March 25, 2011

Parsing The Resolutions

One headline reads that troops are firing on protesters in Syria, another reports “millions” of refugees in Ivory Coast. Do neither of these represent a “humanitarian crisis” in which we need to intervene?

Meanwhile, American officials are parsing the language of the United Nations arms embargo in Libya to interpret them to mean that we can take sides in the civil war in country by arming the rebels. I have read both Resolution 1970 and Resolution 1973 in their entirety, and the language is very clear; no arms may be transported into that country. Period.

Our officials are saying that those resolutions “neither specify nor preclude” us arming the rebels because they “authorize all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack.” Arming the rebels, I presume, would be a measure to “protect civilians under threat of attack” because the rebels would then protect said civilians.

But it would still be transporting arms into the country in specific violation of the embargo imposed by the United Nations, it would be an escalation of violence and civil disorder, and it would be a violation of the resolution’s mandate that the signatories not attempt to unseat Gaddafi.

Unless, of course, the United States just wants to issue a statement that we can do whatever we want to do because we have the biggest and baddest military in the world, and we are not responding to the humanitarian crises in Syria or Ivory Coast because our intervention in Libya is not about humanitarian crisis in the first place.

1 comment:

bruce said...

The biggest and baddest can still be stung.. witness the guerrilla atacks in Iraq & Afghanistan. And should we involve ourselves in every civil conflict that happens?

Only when civilian casualties happens (as they inevitably will)? Or is there a standard by which we will? If the civilians are not armed? If the number exceeds a certain threshold? If they are viatla trading partner? Or next to one? Or we don;t like the leader-in-charge? Do we need a warm fuzzy meter to judge this?

Spin, lies, parsing, idiots, incoherence, unconstitutional are all good adjectives for this. Never mind the actual good that can /will come of it.

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